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This morning, I was immersed in all the weirdness of the election in the United States, until I had conversation with an old friend who was trying to help avert a Christian friend’s marital disaster. She was asking for advice.

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I hope that in the first post about marriage counseling, we came to see that marriage is, for want of a better expression, a flesh grinder. By that, I mean that your flesh—your old nature, your selfish pride—is ground into a pulp by the Lord. A married person will either climb out of that divine grinder and admit defeat (get a divorce, leave, commit a crime of violence, etc.) or remain in it so that his or her flesh is, well, smashed, to a significant extent. Pride will never disappear entirely; we just learn more quickly how to notice its ugly head rising and back off from the fight. That God-ordained pulverizing process moves us to admit that we’re not always right, that we don’t know everything, and that, yes, we really probably are jerks. We acknowledge that our hearts are hard, like Jesus said they were.

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img_3503Is it difficult to be married?

Let me think for a microsecond.

Yes.

Over the years, I have told couples many times that marriage is a committed relationship in which two people join together so the Lord can grind them up with His mortar and pestle. Disagreements pop up, selfishness shows its ugly face, our pride is made manifest and then crushed. This is what happens, that is, if we want to have a lasting relationship with our spouse. It is a good thing, this pride-crushing, since the Lord hates pride. The Lord uses marriage as part of His process of bringing forth His godliness in our lives. I am skeptical when people tell me their marriage is free of arguments. To me, that means that one partner is dominant and the other remains passive in order to eliminate confrontation. Married couples need those sometimes ugly confrontations, those tumultuous laboratories, to help us learn how to love as the Lord does.

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p1030399

Although Rick Warren’s purpose-driven stuff is me-centered and doesn’t place Jesus Christ at the center of a Christian’s life and seeking; and although his Daniel weight-loss plan is goofy–Daniel didn’t fast to lose weight–and is, again, me-centered–why do I need a crucified and risen Christ for this?–I could get any number of diet plans from secular sources–I applaud him for what he said on the Piers Morgan show:

http://www.mrctv.org/videos/rick-warren-piers-morgan-i-fear-disapproval-god-more-i-fear-your-disapproval

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